Cable Charging?

1st Feb 2019

Cable Charging?

Liberty Global, the parent company of Virgin Media is set to launch a trial of EV charging from its street cabinets and infrastructure. Like ubitricity this is likely to be quite niche product, but will be very welcome in the areas where it can be made to work. As it would not be limited to lamp-posts, it may well have a broader range of suitable locations.

Liberty Global has a stake in Formula E, so is not a total stranger to the EV marketplace.

The FT sees it as a sign of communication companies looking beyond their core market for growth. As with most business the key may be to follow the money. Elsewhere in the Europe, they are looking at a parallel pilot in Belgium with their subsidiary Telenet, while Deutsche Telekom has a similar, larger project under way, with a further plan for 500 Rapid units on top of the adaptation of street infrastructure.

The idea’s chief merit for councils is in that there is an existing network of powered cabinets with extensive ducting that could be multi-purposed, allowing a group of charge points to be smartly controlled and powered from the cabinet, with a bare minimum of additional groundworks, with the possibility of no local network reinforcement needed from the utilities.

The Armadillo

Liberty Global are starting their trial in Southwark, where they have been working with Connected Kerb and are also engaged with National Grid. It is hard to see many councils accepting the low profile unit, with its potential as a trip hazard, even when installed on significantly broad pavements as seen here.

Not sure?
Certainly it does not follow the IET Code of Practice, or appear to comply with modern accessibility legislation.

Show me the money!

The company is thinking a long way forward though. These devices will be wifi hotspots, with futureproofing for 5G connectivity, offering capability for the data requirements of future autonomous fleets. There is a general consensus amongst telecoms analysts that in the coming decades more than 50% of all wireless network data capacity will be used by self driving vehicles. Whether ground or post mounted, this is a product that is starting to address the delivery of that market. So by supporting the growth of EVs, perhaps they are preparing for a lucrative future market for themselves?


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